LVMH stops supporting Rihanna’s Fenty fashion house, as L Catterton invests in her lingerie business
LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, is hitting pause on its support for Fenty, the fledgling fashion house of Rihanna.
Barely two years after its launch, LVMH confirmed to FashionNetwork.com on Tuesday that it will be radically scaling back its backing of the fashion label Fenty, which has failed to gain traction with upscale consumers internationally.
“Following the completion of a fundraising round where L Catterton has taken a stake into Savage X Fenty, LVMH and Rihanna reaffirm their ambition to concentrate on the growth and the long-term development of the Fenty ecosystem focusing on cosmetics, skincare and lingerie,” the singer and the French conglomerate said in a joint statement.
“In the meantime, Rihanna and LVMH have jointly made the decision to put on hold the RTW activity, based in Europe, pending better conditions,” the release concluded.
The retreat from Rihanna marks the second time that LVMH has stepped back from supporting a pop star’s label. In June 2018, it parted ways with Edun, the ethically inspired fashion label started by singer Bono and his wife Ali Hewson.
However, the French group will instead focus on Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin, which has won significant market share, and amp up its investment in in her successful lingerie line.
However, underlining that LVMH does see an eventually profitable relationship with Rihanna, in a related move, L Catterton, an investment vehicle in which LVMH owns a major stake, has led a group of investors to invest $115 million into Savage X Fenty, the singer’s lingerie brand.
The $115 million came in a heavily oversubscribed round of Series B fundraising to support the rapid growth of Savage X Fenty, which has won millions of followers, even as the higher-end Fenty fashion collection floundered in department stores.
“Lingerie is about celebrating your body and that’s what Savage is all about,” said Rihanna, in a separate release.
“Savage to me is such a powerful word. It’s about being confident, in charge, and taking ownership of our choices. This brand is a home, a hub and a safe space for everyone – regardless of shape, size, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. It is a representation of all and a validation that everyone is beautiful no matter what,” she added.
LVMH began backing the Fenty fashion house back in early 2019, and launched the debut collection that May in Paris with a pop-up in the Marais, an opening attended by LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault and several of his children. However, as the brand struggled to gain a following, LVMH brought in a new manager last fall, Bastien Renard, to revamp the concept. The house was based on rue Jean Goujon, the center of LVMH Fashion Group, which oversees other labels like Kenzo, Givenchy and Loewe.
In its deal, L Catterton, which manages investments worth over $20 billion and controls the dynamic Danish brand Ganni, joined existing investors such as Marcy Venture Partners and Avenir, along with a number of new investors, including Sunley House Capital and Advent International. The Series B financing follows a strong year for Savage X Fenty, where revenue grew by over 200 percent. The brand plans to use the funds to further invest in customer acquisition and expand into retail.
Back in September 2019, Rihanna pulled off the show of the season for her underwear label in New York Fashion Week, with a live performance show inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, featuring scores of dancers; diverse body sizes; uber models like Cara Delevingne and Gigi Hadid, and live mini concerts by Big Sean, A$ap Ferg and Fabolous. All paid for by Amazon Prime Video, which had an exclusive for the event.
“As we continue to grow the brand at a remarkable pace, it is imperative that we move forward with partners who not only have a deep understanding of our business and customer base, but share our ambitious vision for Savage X Fenty and have the operational know-how to work with us to achieve it,” said Natalie Guzman and Christiane Pendarvis, co-presidents of Savage X Fenty.
“In two short years, Savage X Fenty has achieved remarkable success by disrupting the intimates category,” said Jon Owsley, co-managing partner of L Catterton’s Growth Fund.
“Through L Catterton, with strategic backing by LVMH, this partnership will strengthen the ties between the luxury group and Rihanna and further support growth of the Fenty ecosystem focusing on lingerie, cosmetics and skincare,” read the release.
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